The Art of Storytelling and Product Management: Connecting the Dots

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Nov 26, 2023

3 min read

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The Art of Storytelling and Product Management: Connecting the Dots

Introduction:

Storytelling and product management may seem like unrelated concepts, but they share common elements that can enhance both practices. In this article, we will explore how the art of storytelling involves strategic information withholding and how senior product managers think differently. By connecting these ideas, we can uncover unique insights and actionable advice that can benefit both storytellers and product managers alike.

Maximizing Suspense through Strategic Information Withholding:

Storytelling begins with the deliberate decision of which details to withhold until the end, creating anticipation and maximizing suspense. This technique allows the audience to be engaged throughout the narrative, eagerly awaiting the resolution. Similarly, in product management, the ability to strategically withhold information can be valuable. By carefully revealing features or solutions in a controlled manner, product managers can build excitement and keep users engaged.

Senior Product Managers' Focus on Execution:

Senior product managers understand that effective execution is crucial for success. Once a problem has been well-defined and a solution agreed upon, the focus shifts to execution. This includes efficiently managing the backlog, ensuring that tickets are clearly written, properly sized, correctly prioritized, and efficiently worked on. Shipping quickly not only reduces the risk of building the wrong thing but also allows for faster user feedback. By rolling out features incrementally or conducting A/B tests, product managers can ensure that they are on the right track.

Critical Evaluation and Problem Solving:

Evaluating solutions and problems is a crucial aspect of product thinking for senior product managers. They ask themselves if there is a better way to solve a problem and if the problem is worth solving in the first place. This critical evaluation enables product managers to push back on stakeholders when necessary and say no when a problem doesn't align with the company's objectives. By understanding the strategic importance of the problem being addressed, product managers can set the right constraints for the solution.

Quantifying Impact and Understanding Costs:

To make informed decisions, senior product managers quantify the impact of their decisions. Factors such as reach, intensity, and user segment value are considered when assigning a dollar value to the impact. Additionally, understanding the true cost of a feature is essential. It involves not only estimating the cost of building the feature but also considering other costs such as maintenance and potential rework. By evaluating the worthiness of a problem and understanding its urgency, product managers can prioritize effectively.

Using Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework for Innovation:

The Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) framework helps product managers understand the deeper reasons why users hire their product. By identifying pain points, advantages, concerns, and comfort factors, product managers can create innovative solutions that address user needs more effectively. Mapping alternatives and comparing them to the existing product allows for incremental improvements, while looking outward can inspire radical innovation. By expanding the product's value chain and considering the entire user journey, product managers can uncover new opportunities for growth.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace strategic information withholding in storytelling and product management to create suspense and engagement.
  • 2. Focus on efficient execution by managing backlogs effectively and shipping features quickly to obtain user feedback.
  • 3. Utilize the JTBD framework to understand user needs and identify opportunities for product improvement and expansion.

Conclusion:

Although storytelling and product management may seem unrelated, they share common elements that can enhance both practices. By understanding the art of strategic information withholding in storytelling and the unique perspectives of senior product managers, we can gain valuable insights and apply them in our own endeavors. By incorporating actionable advice such as embracing strategic withholding, focusing on execution, and utilizing the JTBD framework, storytellers and product managers can elevate their craft and achieve greater success.

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